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Ghost In The Browser - Broad-Scale Espionage With Bitsquatting

Presentation from Kapersky SAS 2019 on an unfortunate side effect to achieving HTTPS everywhere and learn what can be done to mitigate the risk.

Presentation by Oscar Salazar and Rob Ragan at Kaspersky SAS 2019

Bitflips happen more than you know, especially on mobile devices and especially on cheap phones with memory that has higher FIT rates (Failures-In-Time). In the past, encryption in-transit (TLS/SSL) would have protected you against the most dangerous opportunistic attackers because it was cost prohibitive. Today however, certificates are free. Free for you and threat actors, thanks to Let’s Encrypt and major cloud providers.

While free certificate authorities are a net positive for internet security, we already know attackers are leveraging the HTTPS lock for subverting security awareness training and more successful phishing. What about corporate espionage? That’s precisely what we investigated in this presentation.

Presentation includes:

  • How to steal passwords
  • How to steal DOM and session tokens
  • How to capture screenshots of what victims are seeing while browsing the web
  • How to persist in their cache and spy on their browsing activities
  • What are the most popularly requested domains by machines (phones, laptops, servers, CI/CD, etc)
  • Who has registered bit squats on these domains and has listening ports on HTTP/HTTPS/SMTP?
  • What are the actively listening domains and what can they do with these bit squats?
  • How are we going to monitor these bit squats for abuse?

Oscar salazar

About the author, Oscar Salazar

Principal Product Researcher

Oscar Salazar is a Principal Product Researcher at Bishop Fox. In this role, he has experience with red teaming, application penetration testing, source code review, network penetration testing, secure software design, and product security reviews. He focuses on research and development of the Continuous Attack Surface Testing (CAST) platform. Oscar has presented at many of the leading security conferences including Black Hat USA, DEF CON, RSA, BSides, Hacker Halted, SyScan 360, and SAS. His research, particularly surrounding anti-anti-automation, has appeared in Wired, eWeek, Fox News, Threatpost, and Gigaom.

Additionally, he has been a featured speaker on the Dark Reading Radio series. Prior to joining Bishop Fox, Oscar served as a web security research engineer at Hewlett Packard's Application Security Center where he designed and developed security checks for the WebInspect web application security scanner. In addition, his research involved developing more effective methods of scanning web applications.

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Rob Ragan

About the author, Rob Ragan

Principal Researcher

Rob Ragan is a Principal Researcher at Bishop Fox. Rob focuses on pragmatic solutions for clients and technology. He oversees strategy for continuous security automation. Rob has presented at Black Hat, DEF CON, and RSA. He is also a contributing author to Hacking Exposed Web Applications 3rd Edition. His writing has appeared in Dark Reading and he has been quoted in publications such as Wired.

Rob has more than a decade of security experience and once worked as a Software Engineer at Hewlett-Packard's Application Security Center. Rob was also with SPI Dynamics where he was a software engineer on the dynamic analysis engine for WebInspect and the static analysis engine for DevInspect.

More by Rob

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